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Archive for  December 2014

Thursday 11, Dec 2014

WADA Not Supportive Of Jail Term For Doping Cheats

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WADA Not Supportive Of Jail Term For Doping Cheats

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has remarked that it does not support the imposition of criminal sanctions on cheating athletes despite it in the favor of a tougher code that will come into effect on January 1 next year.

The new WADA Code will punish first-time offenders with four-year bans instead of two years of suspension. It also puts a greater emphasis on investigation and gathering intelligence.

Sir Craig Reedie, WADA President and former chairman of the British Olympic Association, made this comment after a three-year sentence for doping offenders was proposed by a draft German law. Reedie said dopers should only be sanctioned within the rules of their sport and added a custodial sentence is not appropriate. He remarked an athlete should be sanctioned under the sports rules which have been developed over many years and he should not be sanctioned under Criminal Law.

Reedie, speaking at a members’ meeting, also insisted that the World Anti-Doping Agency is working closely with the Brazilian anti-doping organization to make sure that the quality of tests at Rio 2016 are adequate. Reedie said it is important that we have the laboratory in Rio re-accredited so it doesn’t make any mistakes. The WADA President added it made some mistakes, which is why it lost its accreditation and added but nothing would be worse for athletes than to take part in the competition when they knew there was any question of wrong results from a laboratory that we used to test the samples. Last year, the credentials of the drug-testing laboratory in Rio de Janeiro were revoked by WADA as it failed to comply with the agency’s standards. The revocation forced FIFA, the world governing body of football, to turn to a Switzerland lab for the analysis of the 2014 World Cup samples.

It was also announced by WADA that pledges for the creation of an anti-doping research fund reached more than US$10 million (S$13 million) that match the financial investment made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). WADA announced pledges from the Ivory Coast, Japan, Qatar, Russia, France, Sweden and Peru, joining Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United States. These countries were named by WADA as donors for its research fund that will be beneficial for exploring new techniques for the detection of prohibited substances and methods. Therefore, the joint project will have a budget of about US$20 million.

Reedie also commented on the growing incidents of doping in Kenya. The African country has experienced a dramatic increase in doping cases. This year, Rita Jeptoo was among the high-profile cheats. The Kenyan marathon runner tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), which is used by strength athletes and cyclists to improve the production of red blood cells in the body. Reedie said WADA officials recently met their Kenyan counterparts to help them establish the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya with Chinese and Norwegian agencies providing technical training and guidance. Reedie also commented that Kenya produces many of the very best middle- and long-distance runners in the world and it is very much in Kenya’s interest to have this treated properly.

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Tuesday 09, Dec 2014

Six-Year Anti-Doping Ban For Weightlifting Coach

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Six-Year Anti-Doping Ban For Weightlifting Coach

New Zealand Sports Tribunal has suspended Daniel Milne, a weightlifting coach, from all sport for six years after he admitted to charges of trafficking and possession of prohibited substances.

In what is the first anti-doping violation of attempted trafficking in New Zealand, Milne admitted both charges before the Sports Tribunal.  The ban imposed on Milne means he will not be allowed to be involved in any form of sport for the six years of his ban, either as a competitor, coach, or trainer.

The lengthy ban was applauded by Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Graeme Steel who said it served as a warning to coaches who encourage or assist with doping. Steel remarked coaches are there to support and inspire athletes, not to drag them into the mire of cheating through drug use and it is unacceptable for a coach to compromise an athlete’s integrity, health and sporting career in this way and he is pleased the tribunal has recognized this by delivering a tough sanction. Steel said courage of the young weightlifter in coming forward to report Milne was admirable.

The Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive also said it takes enormous strength of character to come forward to report someone in a position of authority, such as a coach and added this young athlete is to be commended for his bravery and in his view he is a role model for clean sport. Steel also remarked he hopes other athletes will be inspired by his conviction to do the right thing and out someone involved in doping.

Milne offered to supply anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing prohibited substances to a 19-year-old weightlifter in a December 2012 party. Milne was coaching the weightlifter and this “offer” was to help him improve his competitive performance. The Tribunal, in its judgment, said Milne held a party at his house where he showed the weightlifter some products, offered to source them for him and showed him how to use them. Milne’s offer was declined by the young weightlifter and he communicated about this to another coach and this is how the Drug Free Sport New Zealand carried out investigations and referred the matter to the tribunal.

Initially, Milne denied the allegations but then admitted to two anti-doping rule violations, namely possessing and attempted trafficking (selling, giving, delivering, or distributing) a prohibited substances. It was noted by the Tribunal that there were aggravating factors including that the violations happened within an athlete and coach relationship and noted that the weightlifter was a young man who should have received mentoring and support from Milne, and this was not a one-off spontaneous mistake but reflected Milne’s unacceptable attitude towards use of prohibited substances.

The Tribunal added Milne was ashamed and contrite and had made positive contributions to the sport. The tribunal stated that the fundamental attack on the integrity of all sporting contests demands that the breach is not minimized. The tribunal also noted that Milne made positive and constructive contributions to the sport over the years but regrettably a period occurred where he lost focus and sound judgement. It also added he was still a relatively young man with some personal difficulties but still with clear potential.

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Sunday 07, Dec 2014

Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

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Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

Three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova paid more than $600,000 to the Russian track federation for avoiding a doping suspension, according to his agent Andrei Baranov.

The French sports newspaper L’Equipe made this stunning revelation and cited a deposition that the agent provided to the Ethics commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). L’Equipe also reported that Liliya was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she paid the money in three installments in January, June, and July 2012 despite she violating doping rules in 2011.

Liliya was eventually banned in April 2014 by the Russian Federation for two years after blood doping was indicated by irregularities in her biological passport. Her suspension annulled all her results after October 9, 2009 that included all three Chicago wins and her 2010 London Marathon victory. However, the Russian athlete is still listed as Chicago champion in 2009-10-11 pending the outcome of her appeal. After her suspension was announced, Liliya asked for reimbursement of the apparent bribes and received only two-thirds of what she had paid. L’Equipe reported the bribe money could have been used for paying off an official of the International Association of Athletics Federations or officials for suppressing positive tests.

The IAAF has now appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for imposing a ban of four years on Shobukhova. In a statement, the IAAF said there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.

In another development, German TV network ARD disclosed Russia has been funding a widespread “East German-style” doping program for its athletes participating in national and international events. The investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt’s documentary revealed that a wide network of corruption exists to cover up doping positives and doping products are used by up to “99%” of the Russian Olympic team. ARD also disclosed that Mariya Savinova, the reigning Olympic 800-meter champion, was captured admitting to making the use of Oxandrolone (Anavar). The German broadcaster also revealed that Yulia Rusanova, who previously competed as an 800-meter runner, said banned substances were provided to her by her coach. Valentin Balakhnichev, who serves as the treasurer for the IAAF and is the President of the Russian Association of Athletics Federations, was also accused by ARD in the Shobukhova case. ARD also implicated Russian Athletics Federation coach Alexey Melnikov and leading sports physician Sergey Portugalov in the cover-up of drug positives and the drug procurement system.

Yulia Stepanova accused Sergei Portugalov, the head of the Russian federation’s medical department, of supplying doping products in return for 5 percent of the earnings of an athlete plus bonuses for competition wins. The former 800m runner who is now banned for abnormalities in her biological passport also remarked Russian athletes had avoided out-of-competition testing by using false names during foreign training camps.

David Howman, the general director of the World Anti-Doping Association, described Hajo Seppelt’s documentary allegations as “shocking”.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

Friday 05, Dec 2014

Documentary Alleges Russia Of Athletics Doping

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Documentary Alleges Russia Of Athletics Doping

A documentary screened on the German TV network MDR has alleged that up to 99 percent of the Russian Olympic team use doping products. The German television also alleged that the northern Eurasia country is funding a comprehensive “East German-style” doping program for athletes at national and international levels.

ARD also revealed that the reigning Olympic 800-meter champion Mariya Savinova admitted to using Oxandrolone (Anavar), the banned steroid. The ARD documentary linked widespread doping in the country to Russian officials and athletes in other sports, including swimming, cycling, biathlon, cross-country skiing, and weightlifting. It was also reported that Yulia Rusanova, who previously competed as an 800-meter runner, accused coaches of providing her with banned substances. Her husband, former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov, said Russian sports federations would come to the Russian doping control officers offering “extra cash” for hushing up positive tests.

In another development, French sports daily L’Equipe reported that a bribe of 450,000 euros ($550,000) was paid by Liliya Shobukhova, who won the Chicago Marathon from 2009-11 and the London race in 2010, to cover up a positive doping case.

Andrei Baranov, the agent for three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova, disclosed before the ethics commission of IAAD that Liliya paid more than $600,000 to avoid a doping suspension. L’Equipe reported that Shobukhova was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she violated doping rules in 2011 after she paid the money in January, June and July, 2012 as three installments. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has now gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport asking for a four-year suspension on Shobukhova. In a statement, the world governing body of athletics said it understands that there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.

ARD claims it has evidence linking the President of the Russian Association of Athletics Federations, Valentin Balakhnichev, who also serves as the treasurer for the IAAF, in the Shobukhova case. Russian Athletics Federation coach Alexey Melnikov and leading sports physician Sergey Portugalov were also implicated in the cover-up of drug positives and the drug procurement system. ARD also claims that it has footage of Vladimir Kazarin, Vladimir Kazarin, discussing how he gave Oxandrolone tablets to another athlete. It also alleged that Russia assisted its athletes to avoid drug testing while training abroad and that Russian athletes would use fake names when they check into a hotel to avoid testing.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said these are serious allegations and he understands an investigation is already under way by the IAAF ethics commission and we await the full findings. World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman remarked the allegations are shocking and it will ensure that all matters raised are fully investigated. The World Anti-Doping Agency has already forwarded evidence of the type exposed in the documentary to the IAAF ethics panel. WADA powers allow it to declare the northern Eurasia country non-compliant and withdraw accreditation of the Moscow lab to work in sports.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Documentary Alleges Russia Of Athletics Doping

Wednesday 03, Dec 2014

Australia Bars Chinese Swimming Star

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Australia Bars Chinese Swimming Star

Sun Yang, the double Olympic champion and 1,500 meters world record-holder, has been barred from training in Australia. The Chinese swimming sensation’s coach is also expected to sever ties with Yang after he was banned for doping.

Swimming Australia high performance boss Michael Scott met Sun’s Australian coach Denis Cotterell and told him that the Chinese swimmer is no longer welcome to train in the country. Scott remarked he met Denis and Denis has advised the Chinese swimming federation that Sun Yang will not be allowed to train at Miami on the Gold Coast anymore or any of our podium centers as per our policy. Scott added the integrity of Australian swimming was paramount and also remarked that it was a very straight forward call, which Denis supported and has been acted upon already.

The Swimming Australia high performance chief also remarked Australia was tightening rules on foreign swimmers coming to the country and they would be required to register with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority for out-of-competition testing. He went on to remark that they are required to pay us a rights fee which will include the cost of any drugs tests and also remarked obviously when things like this happen you review the situation and we’ve now determined that any foreign swimmer that we agree to come into one of our centers as a condition must list themselves with ASADA for drug testing out of competition.

The Brisbane Courier-Mail reported that Cotterell, one of Australia’s foremost swimming coaches, would sever all ties with Sun. Cotterell also coached Australia’s two-time Olympic 1,500m champion Grant Hackett, who held the 1,500m world record before it was eclipsed by Sun Yang.

The 22-year-old swimmer won four medals at the London 2012 Olympics, including gold in the 400m and 1500m freestyles. Yang also swept the 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at the 2013 World Championships.

Yang served a three-month doping ban after he tested positive for the banned stimulant Trimetazidine (Class S.6.b Specified Stimulant) on May 17 during the Chinese National Championships. Sun said he used the prescription drug Vasorel for “Angina pectoris”, a health condition in which pain is experienced in the chest because of an inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle. The swimmer said he was unaware that the drug had Trimetazidine, a drug that was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s prohibited list this year. Sun could have been allowed by sport authorities to legally use the prescription drug if he had filed a therapeutic use exemption as it was for a medical condition. Sun Yang completed his ban on August 17 but details of his doping ban were revealed only last week by Chinese authorities.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and said the World Anti-Doping Code requires drugs violations to be made public within 20 days. Athletes are generally slapped with two-year bans for a first breach of the code under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s current code. Bans will be doubled to four years from January 1, 2015.

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Monday 01, Dec 2014

Astana Feeder Squad Suspended By Alexander Vinokourov

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Astana Feeder Squad Suspended By Alexander Vinokourov

Team Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov has reportedly provisionally suspended the Astana Continental Team. This step was taken after a third rider from its ranks failed anti-doping controls.

In August, rider Artur Fedosseyev tested positive on a sample taken at the Tour de l’Ain, while Victor Okishev and Ilya Davidenok both shown to have used anabolic androgenic steroids from samples taken at races in May and August, respectively.

Vinokourov seems to have used his influence to have the Astana feeder squad suspended despite the fact that he is not the manager of the continental squad. Vinokourov remarked people have to understand that Astana Continental Team has nothing to do with the Astana WorldTour team.

Kairat Kelimbetov, President of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation, resigned and was replaced by Darkan Mangeldiev, a close friend of Alexander Vinokourov. In a statement, Team Astana said the managing board of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation has decided to suspend the activity of the Astana Continental Team while an internal investigation into doping cases is carried out and added Dmitri Sedoun, the general manager of Astana Continental team, has been dismissed from his position.

Vinokourov remarked the young riders are crazy if they still haven’t understood that there is no place for doping in cycling. The Astana general manager said he wants the provisional suspension to be a signal, a blast in their ear of our foundation. Vinokourov added people must understand that they have nothing to do with us. The only thing they have in common is the jersey and the name and added there is no problem for the license and remarked we have given all the information that we have been asked about.

Recently, Team Astana star rider Vincenzo Nibali said the four idiots (Iglinskiy brothers, who both popped for EPO, and Victor Okishev and Ilya Davidenok) have nothing to do with him. Nibali, winner of the Tour de France 2014 title, staunchly defended his team’s track record. Nibali expressed confidence that the team would be riding in the WorldTour next year after the license committee hearing.

Kazakh Cycling Federation (KCF) president Kairat Kelimbetov said the body, in conjunction with the Astana Pro Team management, will carry out a thorough investigation of the doping cases in the Continental team. Kelimbetov added our strategic policy is for clean Kazakhstan cycling and he can assure all that the investigation will be organized in full accordance with the UCI rules and its outcome to be announced in due course.

UCI president Brian Cookson said its four-member License Commission is presently reviewing the situation and license of Team Astana. Cookson remarked it is safe to say that everyone in the cycling world is very disappointed by this turn of events. The UCI President added but if we assume that there have been three cases [now five], that’s something that’s obviously very, very serious, and that’s why we’ve referred it to the licensing commission, asking them to look into all the issues around that and make recommendations as to what impact these issues should have on the license of Astana.

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